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Hi All,

I have a question about watercolor paper that I don't believe has been addressed on this listserv before (at least a search of the archives turned up nothing). 

I have always used Arches HP but purchased some Fabriano Artistico HP in 140 and 300 lbs last year. I was interested in trying it for graphite as I had seen others use it and the Arches was being a bit delicate. Since I had it to hand, I also used it for 3 medium sized watercolor paintings (2 on the 140 and 1 on the 300). They were mostly dry brush technique but there were areas of wash and wet-in-wet. Admittedly I didn't do any rigorous paper tests first, but I was distressed to see the surface of the paper break up and clump with washes, especially darker ones. The result was a surface that looked scrubbed and overworked when dry. I was doubting my watercolor technique, but I then found several blog posts by dismayed botanical artists reporting the same phenomena. This may be already familiar to many of you but apparently I am very behind the times and there was a big outcry in 2016 when Fabriano changed their manufacturing process. A contingent of botanical artists even met with the company and were assured the problem would be worked on ( I have found no information as to whether the issue was eventually fixed. So I don't know if I somehow bought 5 year old stock (I'm in Canada) or I should never use the paper for watercolors again. Does anyone have any updates? 

And I'd love some HP recommendations if anyone has strong opinions. I saw in the archives a thread complaining about changes in Arches sizing and some recommendations to change to Fabriano, but this was before 2016. Other papers I have read good things about are: Fluid 100 and Saunders Waterford.


Kathryn Killackey
natural science illustrator and artist
+1 (289) 308-6769


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